How to Clean Your Grill

Photo: Lesley Stockton
  • Grill brush: You can use a wire grill brush to scrape your grates. Alternatively, a curly metal scour pad (or balled-up aluminum foil) and 12-inch tongs make an efficient DIY grill brush.
  • Scour sponge: I really like the Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scour Pad. It’s robust sufficient to take away stuck-on grease, nevertheless it gained’t injury the extra delicate components of your grill.
  • Scraper software: This Hyde Chisel Scraper is ideal for scraping the gunk from inside your grill. You may use a painter’s multitool.
  • Dish cleaning soap or delicate degreaser: We like Seventh Generation Free & Clear Dish Liquid for cleansing greasy messes. For tenacious grill grime, Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner is efficient and food-surface protected.
  • Dish gloves: Between the cleaning soap, scorching water, and sharp steel components inside your grill, your palms might use some safety.

If you clear your grill every time you utilize it (and you must), the cleansing course of will take 5 to 10 minutes. A seasonal, deep cleansing ought to take half-hour to an hour (relying on the kind of grill).

As a former gasoline grill hater, I’ll admit that I’m now on the propane practice. They’re so handy and easy to make use of, nevertheless it’s straightforward to let correct care and cleansing go by the wayside. That is, till you’re coping with an annoying little grease hearth.

Every time you grill

Photo: Michael Hession

Make a behavior of checking the grease pan and assortment tray beneath the firebox. If these overflow, you’ll be scrubbing grease out of your grill and off your patio with degreaser. Hands-and-knees cleansing isn’t enjoyable on concrete (or paving stones, or tile).

This is what occurs whenever you overlook to test the grease-collection tray. Don’t be like me. Photo: Lesley Stockton

Then clear the grates. I scrape mine with a wire grill brush whereas the grill is scorching, earlier than I add meals. Any leftover meals bits out of your final cook dinner will get torched to carbon and can launch extra simply from the grates. However, “cleansing scorching grates extra simply damages the porcelain coating on cast-iron ones, permitting rust to kind,” in line with Joe Salvaggio of Big Apple BBQ (we interviewed him for our information to gasoline grills). If you’re anxious about scratching your grates, you possibly can run your grill on excessive for 10 minutes with the lid closed, then let it cool utterly earlier than scraping the grates clear.

Some people don’t like utilizing wire brushes, for concern of a rogue metal bristle ending up of their meals. In that case, you possibly can scour your grates with wadded-up aluminum foil or a curly metal scour pad. We additionally love The Great Scrape Woody Shovel, a hardwood paddle with a straight tapered edge that you simply model on scorching grill grates, leading to a scraper formed simply on your grill. Wipe the remaining soot and particles from the grates with a clear, moist rag (held with tongs), then comply with up with a lightweight coating of vegetable oil. You can use tongs and a paper towel (my choice) or a silicone basting brush for this step.

Even although I scrape the grates on my grill each time I cook dinner, I not often test the underside. I’m ashamed of myself for letting this a lot gunk accumulate. Photo: Lesley Stockton

Inspect your burner hoods (the steel plates that sit instantly above the burners) for grease buildup. These components are particularly designed to stop flare-ups by defending the burners from dripping grease.

These are the burner hoods. Make positive to examine them every time you grill to make sure there isn’t quite a lot of buildup. Photo: Lesley Stockton

If there’s buildup on the hoods, clear them with scorching, soapy water and a scour pad (you shouldn’t have to do that typically). While you’re at it, activate the burners and test the burner ports for clogs. If you see any ports and not using a flame popping out, you should definitely flip the burners off and shut the propane tank; then use the little wire poker included with the grill to clear them out. If you don’t have a poker, a steel wire (or a steel cake-tester, when you have one) also needs to do the trick.

Deep cleansing and upkeep

This deep cleansing was lengthy overdue. I soaked the burner hoods in scorching water and Simple Green, then scrubbed the grease pan with the identical answer. Photo: Lesley Stockton

After you’ve cooked the final burger of the season, totally clear your grill earlier than storing it for the winter. Remove the grates, burner hoods, and grease pan, and scrub them with scorching, soapy water (or a food-surface-safe degreaser, like Simple Green) and a plastic scour pad. Do the identical contained in the firebox and lid. Thoroughly rinse and dry all components earlier than reassembling. Also, take away the battery from the igniter earlier than storing your grill long-term so it doesn’t corrode.

Use a paint scraper to work off thick crud. Photo: Lesley Stockton

Even if you happen to comply with the strictest cleansing and upkeep schedule, you’ll have to exchange some components in your grill because it ages. The burner hoods and cooking grates particularly take quite a lot of abuse and aren’t meant to final eternally. My dad changed these components on his 17-year-old Weber Genesis 4 to 5 occasions (in his estimation) over time.


Get a grill cowl, or retailer your grill in a storage or shed to maintain it clear and protected against the weather. If you don’t wish to spring for a devoted cowl, you may also cloak your grill in a plastic tarp. It’s higher than nothing! Cover your grill everytime you’re not utilizing it, after it’s utterly cool.

This grill is overdue for some TLC. Photo: Lesley Stockton

Charcoal grills are the best to keep up, and if you happen to deal with yours with care, it’ll be your cookout mainstay for a few years to come back.

Every time you grill

Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

Start with cleansing the cooking grates. I like to wash charcoal grill grates the identical manner I do gasoline grates. I scrub them with a metal brush (you may also use a wadded ball of foil or a curly stainless-steel scour pad) earlier than I add meals, when the coals are hottest, then comply with up with a clear moist rag and a skinny coating of oil.


This is an excessive amount of ash! Ideally, you must empty the ash every time you grill. Photo: Lesley Stockton

Dump the ash after every use of your grill. It’s finest to let it cool utterly earlier than you do that, as a result of scorching embers cover within the firebox and ashbox. But I all the time overlook to do that in a well timed method. By the time the ash is a protected temperature, my mind is elsewhere. If you’re like me, otherwise you simply wish to be additional cautious, you possibly can discard ash in a small, lidded steel trash can. Then dump that within the rubbish when it’s full—and utterly cool.

Never, ever, ever extinguish scorching coals with water. Water blended with ash creates lye, which causes chemical burns and corrodes steel. For the identical motive, don’t depart your grill out within the rain.

Deep cleansing

This grill can be due for a deep cleansing on the finish of the summer season grilling season. But for now, the grates want slightly love. I’d scrub them with scorching, soapy water and a scour sponge; then rinse and dry. Follow up with a lightweight coating of impartial cooking oil, like canola. Photo: Lesley Stockton

If your grill is tremendous gunky, it’s time it obtained a deep cleansing. We’re speaking gloves and scorching, soapy water—and possibly even some degreaser.

Before you begin scrubbing, brush or vacuum out as a lot dry ash as potential (a store vac works properly for this). Hose down your grill and lid, inside and outside, to rinse out any residual ash. Now begin scrubbing (with gloves on). You want scorching water, a plastic scour pad, and both dish cleaning soap or degreaser. If you utilize dish cleaning soap, simply scrub your complete firebox and grates with scorching, soapy water, then rinse them properly and dry. If you utilize degreaser, be certain that it’s protected for meals surfaces (I exploit Simple Green). Spray on the degreaser and let it sit for about 20 minutes to penetrate the gunk. After that, scrub all the pieces together with your scour pad and rinse properly with scorching water. When I exploit degreaser on my grill, I like to offer it a once-over with scorching, soapy water afterward after which rinse once more.

Keeping your grill freed from ash buildup improves airflow, too. Photo: Lesley Stockton


Charcoal grills don’t have delicate electrical or transferring components, in order that they don’t must be babied with covers the way in which different grill sorts do. That mentioned, as we talked about earlier, you must actually hold your grill out of the rain. Store it in a storage, shed, or coated space. If you don’t have that sort of area, then, sure, put a canopy on it. Make positive you clear out the utterly extinguished coals and ash earlier than storing the grill.

Photo: Rozette Rago

Pellet grills want slightly extra consideration and TLC than charcoal or gasoline fashions, as a result of pellet grills have extra electronics and mechanical components. You can’t simply dampen a pellet grill; it’s important to take away the grates and grease pan to offer them a correct scrub. Another motive to maintain the backyard hose away is that wooden pellets develop once they get moist, which causes auger jams.

Every time you cook dinner

Clean the cooking grates after every use of the grill. Since pellet grills aren’t actually made to get super-hot, the meals particles that will get caught to the grates is extra gummy and baked on than black bits of carbon. First, attempt scraping the grates clear with a grill brush. If they’re actually gummed up, then soak them in scorching, soapy water—identical to you’ll a lasagna pan—earlier than scrubbing them with a scour pad.

This drip pan is fairly clear total, apart from a few spots. I’d most likely simply use a paint scraper on the black spots and save the scrubbing for an additional time. Photo: Daniela Gorny

It’s a good suggestion to wash the grease pan beneath the cooking grates after each cooking session, however particularly after long-smoking fatty meat, equivalent to pork stomach or brisket. Fat and grease buildup results in fires, and people suck. You can use a paint scraper to get many of the crud off the grease pan whereas it’s nonetheless slightly heat. If that’s not clear sufficient for you, scrub the pan with scorching, soapy water and a scour sponge, then rinse and dry it. Protect your palms with gloves or towels.

Make positive the chute between the grease pan and the gathering bucket (which hangs off the aspect of the grill) isn’t clogged with meals particles. If the chute will get clogged, you then additionally run the danger of a grease hearth. An inexpensive picket paint stirrer (or one other equally formed, nonmetallic software) would do the trick. This can be time to dump the grease bucket on the aspect.

Deep cleansing

After you burn by way of a pair luggage of pellets, clear out the ash within the hearth cup and firebox (beneath the grease pan). Too a lot ash accumulation retains pellets from igniting. You ought to clear out the ash solely when the grill is totally cool; it’s a protected wager to attend till the day after you end cooking. Then you should use a small hearth shovel or a store vac.

This grill is due for an ash clean-out. Using a store vac is the simplest and quickest methodology. Photo: Daniela Gorny

Over time, creosote (black soot) can construct up on the thermocouple (pictured under) and contained in the chimney. If your thermocouple has a thick layer of creosote, it may trigger inaccurate temperature readings from the thermostat. Cleaning the thermocouple is straightforward: Just gently wipe away the creosote with a gentle, damp fabric.

The thermocouple contained in the Traeger Pro 575 Pellet Grill. Photo: Daniela Gorny

Built-up creosote within the chimney could cause a fireplace. So it’s a good suggestion to scrape out the chimney sometimes with a picket paint stirrer. A consultant at Traeger even informed me she’s used a rest room brush for this job. No matter your software of alternative, be certain that it’s nonmetallic.


Get a grill cowl! Pellet grills are delicate to moisture, so despite the fact that they’re meant for use exterior, you shouldn’t assume they’re impervious to the weather. Even with a canopy, your pellet grill must be saved in a storage or storage shed (when you have the area) or stashed beneath an awning. Make positive you empty the hopper and auger earlier than you retailer your grill, particularly if you happen to dwell in a damp or wet local weather. Again, moisture makes wooden pellets develop, so you should definitely retailer your pellets in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

This article was edited by Marilyn Ong and Alejandra Matos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *